Building Your Healthcare Team (Continued)
Medical Alphabet Soup
So what do all those abbreviations mean? Here's a list of common abbreviations to get you started.
BC-ADM - Board Certified in Advanced Clinical Diabetes
Board Certification means that a doctor has additional training as a specialist in a certain area as determined by the American Board of Medical Specialties.
CDE – Certified Diabetes Educator
A Certified Diabetes Educator is someone who has special training and experience in counseling people on all aspects of their diabetes care. Diabetes educators are most often nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, and mental health professionals who have extensive diabetes knowledge and can provide you with the skills and support you need to manage your diabetes. Becoming a CDE requires years of practical experience in addition to formal education and training before taking a detailed examination. Continuing education specific to diabetes is required to maintain the certification. May also be an RD.
DPM – Doctor of Podiatric Medicine
FACE – Fellow of the American College of Endocrinology
A doctor with these initials has received special training in endocrinology.
LCSW – Licensed Clinical Social Worker
A Licensed Clinical Social Worker must have an MSW.
MD – Medical Doctor
An endocrinologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diabetes care and other diseases of the endocrine system. Mental health professional such as a psychiatrist may also be an MD.
MSW – Master of Social Work
NP – Nurse Practitioner
An NP or Nurse Practitioner is a Registered Nurse who has completed specific advanced nursing education and training in the diagnosis and management of common as well as a few complex medical conditions such as diabetes. NPs may also be a PCP and have the authority to prescribe medications, depending on what state you live in.
PA – Physician's Assistant
PAs may also be PCPs and have the authority to prescribe medications, depending on what state you live in.
PCP – Primary Care Provider
Your primary care provider is usually an MD or Medical Doctor, but could also be a nurse practitioner (NP) or a physician's assistant (PA).
PhD – Doctor of Philosophy
This is the highest degree one can obtain but is not a license to practice medicine. Some doctors with an MD may have an additional PhD degree. Mental health professionals such as psychologists will also have a PhD.
RD – Registered Dietitian
A Registered Dietitian is a food and nutrition expert who can help you devise a meal plan that enables you to manage your blood sugar levels. Many CDEs are also RDs.
RN – Registered Nurse
A Registered Nurse is licensed to practice as a nurse.
RPh – Registered Pharmacist
A pharmacist can advise on medication interactions and tell you what RX or OTC drugs might cause blood sugar changes.
To learn more diabetes terms, check out our dictionary.
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Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...